Note: “The Archer” contains mature content and is not suitable for young audiences.
“The Archer” is an independent film that chronicles the story of Lauren Pierce, a straight-A student and high-school archery champion played by actress Bailey Noble. She competes as an Olympic recurve archer, but shoots compounds and recurves in the film, giving audiences a glimpse at multiple styles of equipment.
Pierce is not the type to get into trouble, but her life takes a bad turn when she gets heavy-handed defending her friend, and lands in jail. She ends up in a corrupt for-profit juvenile detention facility, called Paradise Trails, a former summer camp turned girls prison. The prison is in the wilderness, and its problems include abuse, bad food and exploitation.
Lauren quickly discovers the nature of Paradise Trails, and decides to escape. She and a fellow inmate, Becky, go on the run together, but they don’t leave empty-handed. Lauren steals the warden’s compound bow and scoops up damning evidence of prison corruption. The escapees must survive in the wild while evading the warden, who must keep his prison’s secrets at all costs.
Because of its adult nature, this film is suited for mature audiences, but not for the whole family. Again, this isn’t a film for everyone and some will find its subject matter offensive. To read a more detailed description of the movie click here.
If you’re looking for alternative archery movies, “Smurfs” and “Wonder Woman” are better choices for family-oriented archery movies.
The film mixes heavy doses of archery action with its dominant themes: female empowerment and the possible corruption of for-profit prisons. Those things attracted director Valerie Weiss to the movie.
“I was drawn to the excitement of the action sequences, and the juxtaposition of two young girls on the run against an unforgiving backdrop of nature pursued by a formidable male antagonist,” she said in an interview with Women and Hollywood. “So often women underestimate their own power, and movies like this help give them the courage to fight for what’s right at all costs.”
Noble displays excellent archery technique in the film, because she started with professional instruction at Pasadena Roving Archers, an archery club northeast of Los Angeles. Noble went through the same process as many beginning archers. She began shooting at short distances to the target with a bow that’s easy to draw. That approach lets archers focus on learning the fundamentals. During her lessons, Noble learned how to position her body and use the correct muscles to achieve consistent accuracy.
“She was a great student,” said Noble’s archery coach, Matt Berling of Pasadena Roving Archers. “She had a lot of body awareness because she does yoga and is pretty physically fit. She took to the training very well. She could apply my coaching right away. She was probably one of the best students I’ve ever had.”
Anyone who has released an arrow knows its infectious excitement. Berling said Noble is hooked on archery. “She loved it,” he said. “She talked about shooting after the movie. She definitely wants to keep shooting.”
Noble picked up archery in just a few coaching sessions, and so can you. “If people focus and listen to the direction of their instructor, they can definitely have success very quickly,” Berling said.
If you want to try archery, take Berling’s advice. “Find your local archery club and see if they offer instruction,” he said. “People in the archery community are very helpful. We all just want to bring new people into the sport.”
Berling’s archery club introduces over 10,000 people annually to archery through beginner classes. Archery clubs and retailers provide beginner archery classes nationwide. You can find a nearby club, instructor or retailer by clicking here.